Over the offseason, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
The entire Team For the Ages roster will be unveiled at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50
Smith, whom the Cowboys selected 17th overall in 1990 with part of their massive haul from the Herschel Walker trade to replace Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, played 13 seasons in Dallas, where he became the NFL's all-time leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns and helped the franchise win three Super Bowls.
They said it
“I got enough (speed) to get the job done. Speed is not everything. You have to somehow move the chains. See, a running back doesn’t know when he is going to go 80 yards. He doesn’t know when he’s going to score.
“But a running back will do his damnedest to get in the end zone.”
— Smith, who ran a 4.5 at the 1990 scouting combine and fell to the latter part of Round One in part because of his perceived lack of speed and size (5-9, 221).
Beginning in Year 2, Smith authored a decade-long stretch where he averaged over 1,680 yards from scrimmage and 14.5 touchdowns per season, missing a total of five games.
Smith also managed at least 100 yards from scrimmage and/or a touchdown in 13 of his 17 career postseason appearances, averaging more than 23 touches per game during the playoffs.
Did you know?
Smith left Florida after his junior season as the Gators' all-time rushing leader. Although his replacement, Errict Rhett, surpassed him, Smith's son, E.J. Smith, will have a chance to follow in Emmitt's footsteps. A 2020 recruit out of Jesuit High in Dallas, E.J. has been offered a scholarship to Florida, in addition to Georgia and Ohio State.
In October of 2002, Smith rumbled for 109 rushing yards against the Seahawks to break Walter Payton's all-time rushing record of 16,726 yards. Smith ultimately destroyed that mark, retiring with 18,355 yards, a record that seems unlikely to ever be broken in an era in which bell-cow RBs have become the exception, not the rule.
But nearly a decade earlier, Jan. 30 1994, Smith ran roughshod over the Bills for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries en route to capturing Super Bowl XXVIII MVP honors.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player announcements